You want family farms & small business, but do you want to pay the tax?

A couple of weeks ago I read on a website about how Oregon’s Death Tax has obviously not affected my family because I was a 5th generation farmer.  (Since then they have taken then claim down.)

However this group, Tax Fairness for Oregon, knows nothing about my family.

Here’s the thing, my great-grandma, the 2nd generation of our farm, is still alive at 97.  The land we currently farm, that her father farmed before her, is her retirement.  What happens when she passes away?  The land is clearly worth more than state and federal exemption.  Who pays that tax? My grandparents, who happen to be retired as well, then it eventually will be my parents and then one day me.  I wonder what will be left?

Farmers and especially retired farmers don’t have piles of cash lying around.  They have it invested in the land, along with their blood, sweat and tears.  Yet they are still expected to pay hundreds of thousand of dollars whenever a farm is expected to be carried on.  As a result family farms become smaller and smaller as the ones hoping to continue are forced to sell land to pay for the previous generations’ passing.

We as Oregonians claim we want family farms and small business in this state.   If you truly do and don’t want to see parts of century farms sold off then I hope you have signed the petition to End Oregon’s Death Tax.  It is vital small business and families just like mine as well as Oregon’s economy.

End Oregon Death Tax Quick Facts:

  • Create nearly 44,000 jobs
  • 1 in 8 jobs in Oregon are tied to Agriculture
  • Generate $94.1 million in tax revenue
  • Jobs & tax revenue will offset “loss” to Oregon’s general fund


Filed under Agriculture, Economy, Livelihood, Oregon, Rural

4 Responses to You want family farms & small business, but do you want to pay the tax?

  1. How much is this family farm actually worth?

    If after debts, donations, and bills including the medical, legal and accounting expenses, will your Grandmother’s share actually be worth more than $7.5 million when she dies?

    Under special provisions created by the Oregon legislature, if her share of the farm is worth less than $15 million, there will be zero taxes on the first $7.5 million of farm assets. This is quite a benefit for farm and forest families who are continuing in the business. Of course the same rules will apply when each of your parents dies.

    • I am aware of the natural resource credit that was passed in 2011. However after reading the bill/law several times it was unclear to me what would qualify. Does our seed warehouse qualify, does farmland qualify that we are farming but is inherited by my grandparents? What if an entity is farming it? I had multiple questions that aren’t quickly explained or necessarily can be unless it is a case by case basis.

      The bottom line is no should have to jump through a bunch of hoops, spend thousands of dollars on legal fees just to make sure my farm qualifies exempt for a tax that shouldn’t even exist.

      As for the value of our family farm, I am not sure you can put a price on the legacy of a century farm. However, if my parents died today, God forbid, then with land, equipment, investment in crop and inventory it would easily surpass the natural resource exemption.

  2. The worst part is that it will also be taxed when your parents die Marie! Especially because generations before have already had to pay the tax on the SAME land! Land that is taxed on it’s market value, as if you were selling it to another person or farmer. But you’re not, you’re keeping it in the same family for the next generation! For me, my parents paid a death tax when my grandparents passed away, on the land that we are still farming. So then with the ground only changing hands between family members, I will also have to paid a death tax on that land. A tax that is incurred not because I’m making money off the land (that would be covered under my income tax), but a tax that just because the state feels they have a right to tax when someone dies. So why anyone feels that the state or federal government should be able to tax something like a business at the time of death is to me ridiculous!

    • Sort of silly to tax a dead person, when in reality taxing the income seems like a more sustainable option. However if you have to sell the land to pay the tax I guess they won’t get your income tax either.

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